However, even the most productive surgical researchers may lack the know-how to develop their insights into successful commercial products. A special symposium in the February issue of SURGERY (Volume 143, Number 2, February 2008) provides surgeons with expert insights into the process of developing their ideas into commercially viable products that will benefit large numbers of patients—while providing a financial return to inventors, investors, and university research departments.
With mounting financial pressures academic medical centers are seeking new ways to support their missions of education, patient care, and research. A key initial question is whether the idea is patentable—that is, truly new, useful, and non-obvious. Once an idea with commercial potential is recognized, it must be developed through the complex processes leading to commercialization.
The eleven articles in the symposium emphasize that surgeons who invent new products provide a positive service, bringing valuable ideas from concept to the patient's bedside. Without the arduous and painstaking process of commercialization—including finding investors willing to take the financial risk of funding new technologies—innovative techniques of clinical value will never be developed to the scale at which they can benefit large numbers of patients.
For surgeon-researchers used to academic freedom and research for its own sake, collaborating with industry raises some unaccustomed issues. An overarching issue is conflict of interest. Today, universities have strict policies regarding potential financial conflicts of interest. These policies play an essential role in minimizing research bias and protecting patients serving as research subjects. However, one article in the symposium argues that an obsessive focus on conflict-of-interest disclosures hinders the development of beneficial research and innovations.
The development of new health science technologies offers a rare combination of potentially large financial returns with true health care advances with a significant impact on patients. In an introductory note, SURGERY Co-Editors-in-Chief Andrew L. Warshaw and Michael G. Sarr write, "The Editors offer this compendium, evidence of a changing academic world, in the hopes that our novel, imaginative, and innovative nuggets will be recognized and their value realized."
Anna Hogrebe | alfa
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
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